Team Human: “The Commodity of Authenticity” and “System Reboot”

You know how YouTuber’s always start their videos with some forced, casual greeting like, “Hey guys!” It’s actually a faux, learned style of authenticity. And the more authentic it sounds, the higher the views and happier the algorithms. Authenticity (or the simulation of authenticity) is the new commodity.

My Team Human guest this week, Jamie Cohen, warns how the gaming of authenticity and its amplification by algorithms threaten serious social consequences. Jamie shares his case studies of famous YouTubers like Tyler Oakley and Casey Neistat. Together we dig into the promise and peril of “populist” digital technologies; blogging, VR, and beyond. Jamie Cohen is a professor at Molloy College where he started the New Media Program. He researches social media, memes, digital culture, and virtual reality.

Learn more about Jamie’s work at

I open the show with a monologue on how we all became Russia’s “useful idiots.”

And last week’s conversation with business reformer Jason Stockwood is still fresh!

What if businesses engaged in social justice simply by adopting the radical stance of providing goods and services people actually need. Instead of spending millions on marketing to convince people to buy and do stuff that’s bad for them (and the rest of the world) why not just manufacture goods and deliver services that solve real problems for people? It’s a radical, daring, and counterintuitive idea, to be sure. But business reformer Jason Stockwood thinks businesses can still choose to respond to existing demand, and improve people’s lives, rather than manipulate people and destroy their planet. Is there still room in capitalism to embed social justice? Here Jason in conversation with me on the Team Human Show.

I also do a monologue on how we can use our Facebook newsfeeds as an indication of what the internet thinks about us, and then change our behavior if we don’t like what we see…